According to the 2011 census, 36,000 Aboriginal people live in the Greater Toronto Area. Individuals with diagnosed or undiagnosed issues may experiment with substances in order to cope or to experience freedom from emotional and/or spiritual pain. This may lead to issues of substance misuse or abuse and/or the development of difficulties with the justice, school and/or family systems.
The Aboriginal Day Withdrawal Program supports First Nations, Métis and Inuit people who want to make lasting change through individual and spiritual growth. It blends Aboriginal teachings with mainstream approaches to trauma-informed healing therapy. Program hours are Monday to Friday 9:30am – 3:00pm with two weekly evening circles (groups) – The Aboriginal Continuing Care Circle and the Aboriginal Family Support Circle – to provide ongoing and family support.
Programming draws on a strengths-based approach and clients (referred to as community members) explore issues and engage in cultural activities, including cultural ceremonies, to support their healing path. The program provides a continuous intake process, does not have waiting lists and is not time-limited. Anyone considering or ready to begin their healing journey can do so and once they begin, are provided with ongoing support.
Within the past year, registration in this program has grown to approximately 400 clients annually, with a 30% increase in attendance for both the family support and continuing care circles. The program’s impact is significant. A total of 134 clients referred from the criminal justice system receive ongoing care and have been deterred from reoffending. Six members reunited with their children this past year, some of whom had been in foster care for up to two years.
This culturally-sensitive program blends Aboriginal teachings, including the Medicine Wheel and the Seven Grandfathers Teachings, with mainstream approaches to healing. The program provides a continuous intake process, does not have waiting lists and is not time-limited. Anyone considering or ready to begin their healing journey can do so and once they begin, are provided with ongoing support.
By being rooted in aboriginal practice and culture, community members can heal themselves, their family, their community and their nation.
Title: Manager, Withdrawal Management Program / Program Facilitator, Aboriginal Day Withdrawal Program
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